NBA: 2021 All-Star weekend in Indy unlikely on current dates

Sports

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NBA’s 2021 All-Star weekend in Indianapolis is unlikely to take place as currently scheduled, with the league revealing Monday that large blocks of hotel rooms that had been reserved for the event have been released.

The next All-Star Game was set for Feb. 14, 2021, though the uncertainty of the NBA schedule because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left countless unanswered questions about the 2020-21 season. The league is hopeful of starting next season in December, but that is still far from a lock.

And it also remains unclear when fans will be allowed back at NBA games, another major factor in the decisions that will have to be made about next season and All-Star weekend.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the schedule for the 2020-21 NBA season, we and the Indiana Pacers informed our hotel partners in Indianapolis that NBA All-Star 2021 is unlikely to take place on Presidents’ Day weekend so they could make other arrangements,” the NBA said through its communications office. “More information about next season’s schedule, including NBA All-Star, will be announced at a later date.”

Indianapolis television station WISH first reported that the league had canceled the hotel blocks.

The NBA picked Indianapolis as the 2021 All-Star site back in December 2017. The city has hosted the league’s midseason showcase game once previously, in 1985.

“We have been working with the NBA since 2017 to bring our fans and our city this world-class event, just as we did when we last hosted in 1985,” Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Rick Fuson said in a statement released to WISH. “While it appears All Star 2021 is unlikely to happen on Presidents’ Day weekend, we are excited about continuing to collaborate with the NBA as we look to the future.”

The news came on the first day of the NBA playoffs at the Walt Disney World complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida — where the league is attempting to finish the season without fans in the stands and in a so-called bubble where players and others are tested for coronavirus daily.

The NBA lost 14% of its regular season games this season because of the pandemic, which prompted a 4-1/2 month shutdown from March 11 through July 30.

Local officials have said the economic impact of All-Star weekend on Indianapolis could have reached $100 million.

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